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The Moon is Waxing Gibbous (78% of Full)


John Muir Trail Experiences

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John Muir Trail Experiences
January 31, 2006 10:32AM
I am planning and preparing to hike the JMT this summer. (North to South.)

Does anyone have any experience doing these 211 miles between Yosemite Valley and Mt. Whitney? If so, can you answer these questions:

1. What is the percentage of solo hikers compared to those that go in groups of 2, 3, 4, or more?

2. How heavy was your pack (if solo hiking) when fully loaded with food and gear?

3. Did you have any problems at the re-supply points?

4. Realizing that every year is different, normally how fast and deep will the stream crossings be in mid-June? How many major stream crossings did you encounter?

5. Did you have any problems with bears or other wildlife (including humans!)

6. Is it easy to lose the trail? Would you recommend (for the non-purists) a simple GPS unit to keep you on trail?

7. How much food did you start with and did that amount get you to the resupply points before running out?

8. Did you take a stove and fuel, or did you just go with ready-to-eat food?

9. What else should I know if I decide to do this solo?

10. Where can you find another solo hiker, if you want to team up?


avatar Re: John Muir Trail Experiences
January 31, 2006 11:57PM
wbmyosemite wrote:

> 4. Realizing that every year is different, normally how fast
> and deep will the stream crossings be in mid-June?

Stream crossings in mid-June can be challenging and the passes will likely be snowy.

Re: John Muir Trail Experiences
February 03, 2006 01:38PM
10. Where can you find another solo hiker, if you want to team up?

You can go to backpacker.com. There is a forum available, with a section on "Find a Hiking Partner".

But personally, I'd go solo.


Jon Shannon
Re: John Muir Trail Experiences
February 04, 2006 10:15AM
Hey, Jon, thanks for the tip. I DO believe I would enjoy the solo way. I can see the advantage of sharing pack weight with another person, but I've really always wanted to do the JMT as a way of just enjoying the planet before I die! I've hiked much of Yosemite (mostly day trips), but the thought of doing 220 miles through the Sierras really appeals to me. I don't know that I would or could ever do the PCT, but I think most people (with the desire) could accompllsh the JMT section of it.

It would not matter to me how fast I did the trail, as long as I actually completed it.

Have you done all of the JMT, or large parts of it?


P.S. By the way, I scooted on over to www.yosemitetrailsdvd.com and I'll be taking advantage of the February special. Do you have a list of the trails the DVD covers. I'd like to know more about hikes to Starr King, Mt. Dana, Olmsted Point, etc. It would be interesting to know what trails your DVD covers. Thanks!

Re: John Muir Trail Experiences
February 09, 2006 02:07PM
Bill: Sorry for the delay in answering, I haven't been in the habit of checking this forum regularly. I know how you feel about your desire to get out and see some good stretch of the Sierra. We live near some of the most beautiful country on earth! Regrettably, I haven't hiked the JMT (or large portions of it, for that matter). A long-standing dream of mine.

But I do feel fortunate to live close enough to Yosemite to spend quite a bit of time hiking there. Amazingly, many of my local hiking friends refuse to go to Yosemite because somehow its being so famous "spoils it" in their eyes...and they think that it is crowded (which of course, it CAN be if you don't time it right).

Thank you for your interest in the DVD. The trails featured in it are: Half Dome, Nevada Fall, Vernal Fall, the Panorama Trail, Glacier Point (4 Mile), Yosemite Fall (Upper and Lower), Bridalveil Fall, Mirror Meadow and the Valley Loop (Mid, East and West). Also, Olmsted Point to Yosemite Valley, and two BP trails from Tuolumne Meadows to the Valley, namely 1) via Lyell Canyon (JMT) and Merced Lake and 2) via Cathedral Lakes (JMT) and Clouds Rest. Please feel free to ask if you have any other questions.

Every time I take a trail, I think that one is my favorite.

And regards to your question # 1. I'm ON the JMT quite a bit (same portions of it, though) and run regularly run across people doing the whole thing; as a very rough estimate I'd say that about 10% go solo.

Happy Trails!

Post Edited (02-09-06 16:16)

Jon Shannon
Re: John Muir Trail Experiences
February 09, 2006 06:32PM
Hey Jon, no problem. I knew you would get back to the forum at some point.

To paraphrase Yogi Berra on a NY restaurant, "Yosemite is so crowded that no one goes there anymore."

Actually, while the Valley can be crowded and trails to Half Dome and Yosemite Falls can be packed, once you get past those, Yosemite is quite un-crowded. Last year I hiked from Lukens Lake to the top of Yosemite Falls in July and I saw one person on the trail until I got close to the top of Yosemite Falls. I'm guessing that many trails up on Tioga Road and Glacier Point Road are similarly un-crowded.

I realize there are some additional risks trying to do the JMT solo, but I think that is part of the allure of the trail. We're not talkng bagging Mt. Everest here, but I do think it is an accomplishment that few people ever get to do in their lives. I've met people who are over 50 and have lived in Fresno or Oakhurst all of their lives and they haven't even been to Yosemite. The first time someone told me that, I thought they were pulling my leg. But I've found that to be true. I guess they live so close that they think they can always do it someday. For me, I'd go everyday if I could.....

Anyway, I don't have a Pay Pal account, so I think I'll just send you a check. Even though I've gone to the top of Half Dome over 10 times, I'd like to see a video of the trail to show some of my flat-lander friends back here in the Midwest. I've shown them pictures, but I'd like them to see a video too.

Thanks for putting the DVD together.


Re: John Muir Trail Experiences
February 10, 2006 07:17AM

Re: Doing JMT solo. I think there are enough people on the JMT that doing it solo shouldn't be too risky (but, then I've never done it, so maybe someone that has would be in a better position to give an opinion). Regardless, though, I also feel that if a person doesn't feel comfortable with something it's best not to do it. After all, you want to enjoy the experience. Having a hiking partner would be a good way to get to know someone new.

Re: Yosemite & crowds. Agreed. I've hiked Olmsted Pt to Mirror Lake on July 4 weekend and not seen anyone on the trail. Every winter I snowshoe to Glacier Point and spend the night out there (which, as you know you can't do in summer - spend the night that is) and there is usually just two or three other people). And if you time it right, you can go on the popular trails and be all by yourself. When I hike Vernal, Nevada and Half Dome I typically do it mid-week and start at first light. There are few people on even that trail. When I do it in Spring (best time of the year anyway) there is typically no one on the trail on my way up......AND THAT'S THE MIST TRAIL!!

I'm also astounded by the locals who have never been to Yosemite (but they'll get on a plane and go to Hawaii, Europe, etc). People come from all over the world to see this astounding place, and people that can drive there in a day don't. I've shown several of my friends my DVD, and typically they go to Yosemite within a few weeks.

By the way, you don't have to have a PayPal account to buy the DVD on-line. You can pay by credit card (it is processed through PayPal, but you don't need to open an account. PayPal makes the process confusing - they want you to open an account - so I've added some instructions on the site to try to clear it up - hope I didn't just muddy the waters more!). Whatever is easiest/your preference.

Post Edited (02-10-06 11:56)

Jon Shannon
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